iPhone to India from USA – Custom Duty, Shipping Cost of sending

Total cost including custom duty, shipping and other taxes to ship iphone to India from USA. The cost and exchange rate may not make it fruitful.

Cost of Sending iPhone to India

How much does it cost to send a new iPhone to India from USA? Any idea?

I get this query from my Indian friends every year when the iPhone is launched in USA and most of them want it in their hand before it is launched in India.
They are even ready to pay the extra price!

I have heard that iPhone plus model sells at whopping 1.5 lakhs in Gray market (heard about Gaffar Market in karol bagh, Delhi?) with iPhone standard going for 1 lakh. Buyers are asked to deposit 50% of cost in advance and rest needs to be paid once they receive the phone.

Isn’t that a HUGE game plan? The gray market certainly makes a good profit on some iPhone models.

I tried to analyse the total cost of sending 1 iPhone to India if I buy it from USA and use the normal mailing channel to send it to India.

Here are the costs involved for iPhone 64 GB models:

iPhone (64 GB) iPhone Plus (64 GB)
Basic Price (in USD) 699 799
Sales Tax (@6.5% – Could be different in your state) 46 52
Shipping to your home or pick – up from store* 0 0
Mailing Cost (Fedex/UPS – standard shipping – 1 pound packet) 126 126
Transit Insurance (@2% of declared value) 14 16
Total (in USD) 885 993
Total (in INR)(1 USD = INR 65) 57,525 64,545
* I assumed that Apple offered free shipping or you picked up the phone from an apple store to keep this cost as zero.

Cost of sending iphone to India by Fedex – Boston to Delhi
Cost of sending iPhone to India from USA by mail

Custom Duty and Taxes in India

Now, when this package reaches India, you will have to pay customs duties and taxes. The mobile comes under the cell phones category and there is 10% BCD charged on imported mobiles at this time (September 2017). This duty came into effect on July 1, 2017. Earlier, there was no duty charged. Source: NDTV, Forbes

But, wait, there are certain other types of fees too, that you need to pay for importing goods in India apart from this 10% BCD (Basic Custom Duty).

Here is the break up as per best of my research:

CIF (Landing charges) 1%
BCD (Basic Custom Duty) 10%
IGST (Integrated Goods and Services Tax) 12%
Compensation Cess 0%
Specific Duty 0%
Preferential Duty 0%
Final Rate (Does not add up (like 1+10+12 = 23% due to compounding) 23.2%

(source) CIF cost means the total of Cost, Insurance and Freight.

For the purpose of customs validation, the CIF value is the price paid for the goods plus the cost of transportation, loading, unloading, handling, Insurance and associated costs incidental to the deliver of good from place of export to place of import.

This is precisely the value that custom’s values your imported item at. The other charges are calculated on this CIF value.

In our example, this CIF value is the total money that you have spent for the item in USA including all expenses. So, we start the calculation from there.

All in INR iPhone (64 GB) iPhone Plus (64 GB)
A CIF value (Total cost to send from USA) 57,525 64,545
B Landing Charges (1% of CIF) 575 645
C Sub-total (A + B) 58,100 65,190
D Custom Duty (BCD – 10%) 5,810 6,519
E Sub-total (C + D) 63,910 71,709
F GST 7,669 8,605
G All other cess and charges 0 0
H Total (E + F + G) Final cost to you 71,579 80,314
G Total Customs (H – A) 14,054 15,769

Did you understand this table? Don’t worry, the calculations are a bit complex (as are always in India).

The crux of the matter is that

  • iPhone standard 64 GB would cost you 71,579 in Indian rupees if your friend in USA buys and sends it to you in India by mail. Here you will pay 8,236 INR as custom taxes.
  • iPhone plus 64 GB would cost you 80,314 in Indian rupees if your friend in USA buys and sends it to you in India by mail with 9,183 INR as custom taxes.

The above calculation might be a bit complex for a layman.

Hence, if you want to take a figure in your mind, you can consider about 24% of the CIF value as customs charges.

For example: If the total cost (CIF) in INR is 60,000 for a mobile, then add about 24% of 60,000 as custom taxes and charges.

Final price would be: 60,000 + 14,400 (24% of 60,000) = 74,400.

Back to Index

Does it make sense to buy iPhone from USA and ship to India?

iPhone Standard 64 GB iPhone Plus 64 GB
Total Cost (In hand in USA) $745 $851
Total Cost (In hand in USA) (1 USD = 65 INR) INR 48,425 INR 55,315
Total Cost (In hand in India)(INR) 71,579 80,314
EXTRA payout (Shipping and custom taxes) (INR) 23,154 24,999

If you carefully understand the calculations, you are approximately paying about 50% extra for the phone, if you import.

Indian government takes hell of taxes here.

Marking the parcel as GIFT to evade custom duty/tax?

This would be the next best advice you will get from any fellow desi abroad. Well, that is true, but to a certain extent. Remember, customs in India are also the same desi with same mindset! haha.

So, you can ONLY gift up-to INR 10,000 worth of single package and that too without bill. The value of 10K is converted value after applying relevant exchange rate. Also, postal charges or airfreight or insurance is not taken into account to find the value of product.

NOTE: If the value of the gifts received is more than INR 10,000, the receiver has to pay Customs duty on the whole consignment, even if the goods were received free.

Who can be a sender of GIFT?

Any person abroad can send gifts. There is no specific restriction that only relatives can send the goods. Business associate, friends, relatives, companies or acquaintances can also send the gifts to residents in India. No proof is required.

Who pays the custom duty and taxes on imported iPhone and how?

The receiver pays the custom duty and taxes. Normally, when the shipment reaches India, your postal company would run it through customs. Custom officer would create a custom invoice and the postal company would either call you to keep the money ready or ask you to deposit the money first.Once you deposit the money, you will be handed over your shipment.

Most of the companies these days like BlueDart, Fedex etc. have streamlined the process.

They would call you before coming to deliver the package and ask to keep the money ready. You pay the custom duty to the delivery boy itself.

What is the time frame to get iPhone shipped in India from USA?

As per the best estimates, the iPhone versions are shipped to USA resident in 5-6 days. Add another 5-6 days for shipping to India.

Is there any GST tax on imported goods/mobile in India?

Yes, there is GST tax under called Integrated Goods and Services tax that’s levied on imported mobile phones.

Is there any sales tax on imported goods/mobile in India?

No, no sales tax is charged on imported goods at this time.

I have made all calculations and provided information to the best of knowledge and research. Please correct or share more information about it if you had any experience of sending a mobile phone to India from USA.

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